Carnival businesses predict grim outlook following parade cancellations

Economic impact of canceling Mardi Gras parades

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Considering canceled New Orleans parades, Jefferson variety store owner Rusty Tracy says there’s nowhere for these beads and throws to go, other than filling up their garages and warehouses.

“We have to order all her stuff from overseas so it’s all either in or it’s on the way because what if they did have a Mardi Gras,” Tracy said.

It takes all year to prepare for Mardi Gras, and with krewes that chose to delay until 2022, Tracy says that means a year of business revenue gone. Not only that, but he says layaway sales are down ten-fold.

“They haven’t paid for it yet because they haven’t taken possession so they’re pretty committed, they’re committed to it, but it’s the same situation for them because none of them ordered anything with a date or a year. So if they don’t use it this year they’ll have to use it next year. We’d have 400 layaways by here normally by Thanksgiving. We have about forty,” Tracy said.

Mac Cantrell’s family once built the floats for all the old New Orleans parades. Now he fears for the future of his business, his employees and if float builders will survive to 2022.

“I’m going to put out 13 parades with no income for 12 months and that’s going to be very hard to withstand, and I don’t see a government bailout coming for float builders,” Cantrell said.

It’s not just the parades and beads and throws that are an issue, businesses that helps put on the Mardi Gras balls are also hoping they can salvage something.

“All I’ve heard about are cancellations and balls normally start in October and we haven’t seen any activity whatsoever,” Grodsky said.

Formal events have taken a backseat during the pandemic, and Tuxedos to Geaux’s Mel Grodsky says his only hope is that surrounding areas will allow formal balls there.

“If all the balls get canceled, and the majority of the balls and everything that will affect our business, probably 60 percent of our sales will go away for this year and there’s no way to replace it. It’s not like I have an alternative because people aren’t getting dressed up,” Grodsky said.

He says while business is a huge concern, his bigger concern with canceled Mardi Gras parades is morale.

“Just like after Katrina we needed a change of pace, we needed something to give us hope and there’s a future out here and we think Mardi Gras is a great step in that direction,” Grodsky said.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include title of story.